Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Senate HELP Committee, With Patty Murray's Support, Approves Health Care Reform Bill

Posted by on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 9:12 AM

When considered along with the action in the House yesterday, this leaves only the Senate Finance Committee (and, of course, junior Finance member Maria Cantwell) still trying to decide what kind of health care reform plan to propose.

Remember: five committees in the House and Senate have jurisdiction over the current health care reform push. All three House committees yesterday approved a plan the would provide near-universal coverage and a public option to compete with private insurers, among other things. Now one committee in the Senate—the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, of which Washington Senator Patty Murray is a senior member—has approved a similar plan.

As everyone waits to see what Finance (and Cantwell) will do, Murray is taking a bow:

This is a signal to the American people that we are moving full steam ahead. The bill we passed today is an historic step toward lowering-costs, guaranteeing access, and modernizing care for every American. It is also a bill that was born out of real negotiation and the inclusion of every voice on our Committee.

The rest of her statement in the jump.

What was passed today is the foundation for meaningful reform. This bill says that health care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. It focuses not just on helping people when they are sick, but also on actively keeping them healthy. It safeguards patient choice, opens the doors of coverage to those with preexisting conditions, and works to boost our long term economic strength. It protects existing coverage when it’s good, improves it when it’s not, and guarantees care for the millions who have none.

I’m particularly proud that this bill also contains a strong title on building our health care workforce. If we are going to work to ensure that all Americans have quality, affordable health care coverage, we also need to ensure there are enough health care workers to provide that care. That is why I led the committee in passing provisions that will increase the health care workforce pipeline to ensure access to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

We all know that our health care system is broken. Today we have put forward a major step toward fixing it. The millions of Americans who wake up every day uninsured, underinsured, or unable to afford their insurance are watching intently to see what happens next. We owe it to them to follow through.


Comments (5) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Ignoring all the important parts, does Murray really pronounce 'historic' with the cockney silent 'h' that necessitates using 'an' instead of 'a' with it?

Anyone who's concerned with the state of health care and our apparent inability to cut out the middlemen and pool our resources ourselves -- via our elected government -- really should go read Bill Moyers' PBS interview of the former VP of PR for CIGNA. The insurance companies are concerned primarily with their own profit, and that profit is not an indicator of the quality of care they provide.

Following is a section of the interview that deals with the strategy CIGNA developed to misinform the public about public health care systems:

BILL MOYERS: We obtained a copy of the game plan that was adopted by the industry's trade association, AHIP. And it spells out the industry strategies in gold letters. It says, "Highlight horror stories of government-run systems." What was that about?

[Note: You can download the documents by clicking here and here (PDFs)]

WENDELL POTTER: The industry has always tried to make Americans think that government-run systems are the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, that if you even consider that, you're heading down on the slippery slope towards socialism. So they have used scare tactics for years and years and years, to keep that from happening. If there were a broader program like our Medicare program, it could potentially reduce the profits of these big companies. So that is their biggest concern.

BILL MOYERS: And there was a political strategy. "Position Sicko as a threat to Democrats' larger agenda." What does that mean?

WENDELL POTTER: That means that part of the effort to discredit this film was to use lobbyists and their own staff to go onto Capitol Hill and say, "Look, you don't want to believe this movie. You don't want to talk about it. You don't want to endorse it. And if you do, we can make things tough for you."


WENDELL POTTER: By running ads, commercials in your home district when you're running for reelection, not contributing to your campaigns again, or contributing to your competitor.

BILL MOYERS: This is fascinating. You know, "Build awareness among centrist Democratic policy organizations--"


BILL MOYERS: "--including the Democratic Leadership Council."


BILL MOYERS: Then it says, "Message to Democratic insiders. Embracing Moore is one-way ticket back to minority party status."


BILL MOYERS: Now, that's exactly what they did, didn't they? They--


BILL MOYERS: --radicalized Moore, so that his message was discredited because the messenger was seen to be radical.

WENDELL POTTER: Absolutely. In memos that would go back within the industry — he was never, by the way, mentioned by name in any memos, because we didn't want to inadvertently write something that would wind up in his hands. So the memos would usually-- the subject line would be-- the emails would be, "Hollywood." And as we would do the media training, we would always have someone refer to him as Hollywood entertainer or Hollywood moviemaker Michael Moore.


WENDELL POTTER: Well, just to-- Hollywood, I think people think that's entertainment, that's movie-making. That's not real documentary. They don't want you to think that it was a documentary that had some truth. They would want you to see this as just some fantasy that a Hollywood filmmaker had come up with. That's part of the strategy.

BILL MOYERS: So you would actually hear politicians mouth the talking points that had been circulated by the industry to discredit Michael Moore.


BILL MOYERS: You'd hear ordinary people talking that. And politicians as well, right?


BILL MOYERS: So your plan worked.

WENDELL POTTER: It worked beautifully.

Posted by Phil M on July 15, 2009 at 9:52 AM · Report this
Oops. The AHIP (health insurance industry trade association) strategy papers Moyers cited are here and here.
Posted by Phil M on July 15, 2009 at 9:57 AM · Report this
cressona 3
Cue deluge of anti-reform FUD from assorted unregistered commenters with never-seen-before taglines. 3... 2... 1...
Posted by cressona on July 15, 2009 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
About time!

Now for the deluge of America-hating neocons paid by Big Pharma and Big Insurance to attack, just like they did when Medicare was proposed after WW II.
Posted by Will in Seattle on July 15, 2009 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Murray is making the right noises but for who? She is figuring prominently on a new series of television spots brought to you by the fair and balanced people at AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plans). Since Murray is up to be rehired it looks like Murray Campaign 1.0 to me...

This is the same Senator quoted in the Seattle Times during the break as being "...surprised to hear from so many people who had insurance but were worried it wouldn't be adequate in a pinch and that the premiums would keep rising sharpley". Further Senator Murray suggested that "The best step forward we can take is to help people feel more secure with the coverage they have,".

Perhaps the Senator enjoys the attention being given her "reform" efforts by AHIP just a bit too much.

Seattle Times, September 11, 2009 "No rest on health care for public servants" Les Blumenthal, McClatchy Newspapers
Posted by SanchoPanza on October 30, 2009 at 12:24 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy